Pierre-Hubert Subleyras
St. Basil Celebrating Mass Before the Emperor Valens

1745
Oil on canvas
Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e Martiri

According to one vita of Basil, St. Basil's devotion in celebrating the liturgy on the feast of the Epiphany was so great that it caused the Arian emperor to faint and then to regret his opposition to orthodox Christianity (Acta Sanctorum, June vol. 2, 876-77).

In the painting, the Emperor stands in the lower right wearing a crown, a leather tunic, and a red mantle. His closed eyes register the "faint" of the story. In contrast to him and the others in the darker foreground, the Orthodox clergy above are all in white and the light falls directly on St. Basil as he, apparently, begins to distribute communion.

Read more about St. Basil.

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.